Catching Billfish: Here’s a Circle Hook Tip
The ability to rig bait’s is only part of the equation if you want to have success catching billfish with circle hooks. What you do to set the hook is as important as how you rig your baits. The Striking techniques used with circle hooks are different from the striking techniques used with J-hooks. Use the following tips and you will soon see your catch rates increase dramatically.
- Drag setting: Try setting your strike drag a few pounds lighter then you usually would by backing your drag lever away from the strike button. Once the fish is on and taking line, slowly but steadily move the drag lever up to the button. For example, you are fishing 20LB test for sailfish and you usually set your strike drag at 7 pounds at the button. Try pulling the drag lever back to where you have a strike drag of 5 pounds. As stated earlier, move the lever up to the button when the fish is pulling drag.
- Winding: Winding tight on the fish should be done in a calm and controlled manner. After the bait is dropped back to the fish, engage the drag and wind steadily, at a medium fast pace. Winding in a fast and frantic manner can pull the bait out of the fish’s mouth, without setting the hook. Keep winding until the fish is taking line off the reel.
- Rod position: Rod position is critical to your success when setting the hook. Always keep you rod tip down at waist level or lower. Determine which direction the fish is moving when it takes your bait. As you are about to engage the drag, point your rod in the opposite direction to which the fish is moving. For example, if you see the fish grab the bait and move off to your right, point your rod to your left. If the fish goes left, engage the drag with your rod pointed to your right. Also of importance is the ability to stay calm. Under no circumstances should you ever jerk or pull the rod with any kind of a forceful manner. Rearing back with your rod tip straight up and down and above your head is a sure way to pull the hook.